Or in the rest of the Middle East either.
Which is weird because I was told – with no small amount of worshipful ululation – that Obama was responsible both for the Lebanon election results (Guardian article, cached Kos recommended diary) and for the protests in Iran. This is the same kind of post hoc logic that children use when they blow out birthday candles and then their wish comes true. Like magic!
Except in children naive slack-jawed credulity is charming. Less so in internationally read newspaper columns and global public diplomacy initiatives.
Regarding Iran, I don’t know why Obama wouldn’t take credit for the protests if that was his goal. Maybe he’s just really modest. I also don’t know why his pro-regime outreach would result in anti-regime protests, especially under the assumption that he’s a popular figure on the Muslim street. Maybe he’s just really tricky.
Ditto for Lebanon, since Obama indicated he’d be willing to engage Hezbollah if they won. So Hezbollah voters who were overwhelmed by the Cairo speech and wanted to build a relationship with the US… umm, didn’t have to change their votes at all.
There certainly wasn’t any massive shift in Lebanese public opinion. For all of the MSM’s talk of a “stunning setback,” Hezbollah actually picked up a seat. Some setback. I’m sure “setback” is how it would’ve been described if Bush was in office too. The line “the US-backed March 14th Alliance, closely linked to Mr. Bush’s Middle East democratization efforts, lost ground to Hezbollah” would never have come up.
Anyway now there are numbers on this moronic fantasy:
President Barack Obama’s much-heralded speech last month in Egypt did little to change America’s image in the Muslim world, a survey released Thursday shows. Muslim people were not so easily moved by Obama’s speech June 4, according to interviews conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project. “This analysis suggests that the speech had little measurable impact on views of the U.S. or Obama himself,” the Pew researchers said.
Luckily the French and the Germans love us again. They don’t love us enough to actually change any of their policies in a way Obama would like them to. But now presumably they feel a tinge of guilt about the whole thing.
The “Obama Effect” myth is more than just typical nutroots Obama worship. The administration actually believes this crap. They’re using it as a basis for foreign policy decision making, with exactly the results you’d expect:
Mr. Obama will have to acknowledge the “foreignness” of foreign lands. His breezy self-assurance has been put on notice. The Obama administration believed its own rhetoric that the pro-Western March 14 coalition in Lebanon had ridden Mr. Obama’s coattails to an electoral victory. (It had given every indication that it expected similar vindication in Iran.) But the claim about Lebanon was hollow and reflected little understanding of the forces at play in Lebanon’s politics. That contest was settled by Lebanese rules, and by the push and pull of Saudi and Syrian and Iranian interests in Lebanon.
I can’t totally begrudge the left their celebratory hosanas. If the Lebanon vote had gone the other way the righty blogosphere would’ve been awash with headlines like “Lebanon Responds To Obama’s Open Hand By Electing Iran’s Genocidal Proxies.” And for their part the nutroots and their pseudo-sophisticated enablers would’ve unable to contain their condescension for simpletons who expected “one speech to reverse a decade of mistrust.”
Of course pointing out that there was no effect is already one step less logically ambitious than insisting on a correlation. Which, by my count, makes the left’s celebrations of a Cairo Speech Obama Effect doubly idiotic.
References and previously after the jump…
* Lebanon feels the Obama effect [Guardian]
* The Obama Effect? Iran’s election result proves the US formula in the Middle East is not working [Daily News]
* Obama: ‘If Hezbullah wins Lebanon’s election, we might have to engage with them’ [Israel Matzav]
* Did Hezbollah Really Lose in Lebanon? [The Trumpet]
* Survey: Obama does little to nudge global Muslim views of America [CNN]
* NATO to Obama on troops: Molon Labe [Hot Air]
* Obama’s Persian Tutorial [WSJ]
* Roger Cohen: Obama Should Sell Out Israel To Appease Iran
* Russia To Obama: No, Of Course We’re Not Going To Help Out On Iran
* Smug Liberal Sophistication Undisturbed By Decades Of Disastrously Wrong Domestic And International Predictions